Above and beyond, Just Go!

pg6Another year past, another year ahead… of the same whining, complaining and dead end revolutions of the corporate world… Not this time!

You have read my banter of incompetence and the blind leading the blind and either found them quite amusing and tolerable or could even relate. Not surprisingly to say even to fathom, but those idiosyncrasies of the employment world exist and will never go away. So my fellow readers and daily stressers, what does one do about dealing with the inevitable? If you are anything like me, you will step up, shut people up, show and scold the higher-ups that you are one of the power houses in your company. You see I am like a well-versed travel agent. I tell people where to go and where to go to get the best bang for their buck.

Every year, your life should have those defining moments that make up who you are and what you believe in, no matter regardless of how insignificant or grandiose those moments may be. Whether it be a small email to the head honcho saying how excited it is for a new project at work to commence, or extreme measures of getting into someones personal space and showing them reality. Your actions and words at work define who you are as a person and as an employee, dedicated and indispensable or gabby and a disposable asset. Which one are you, or will you be this year?

A short description of my basic characteristics while I am at work, I am known as “The Bear,” yes that is my nickname at the office. That alone should give you some idea of how I am at work. I hunker down and get things done, focused and determined to get what I need done. I utilize and take advantages of the things and people around me that I know can gain me knowledge and a clearer path to my destination. When things aren’t quite right around me, I let it be known and loudly. And, if I don’t like you and find you useless to the cause or organization I let it be known.

Two instances this past year solidified my position and identity as an indispensable individual at my place of employment and why I am where I am in my career.

The first instance, and many of you have read in the past about this situation, was of constant complaining, whining and the sever lack of efforts or knowledge some of my “colleagues” posses. Granted I do my fair share of complaining, as well as the entire IT staff, but it is of due cause and is a right. This individual cross the proverbial line of idle ridicule to down right challenging and degrading my integrity and performance. Crossing that line is like entering my den during the winter and smacking my ass to wake me up, bad very bad choice. Now this particular individual is your typical office gossip and complainer, you know the type. This is the type that sits around all day talking about how hard they have it at work (yet do only the bare minimum to get by), how they only perform up to their position description (because it is above their pay-grade) and yet complain about being under paid and unappreciated. On a side-note but on the same tangent, you only get paid for as much as you are willing to put forth the effort into doing, sitting on your ass is going to get you to shit… literally. Now back to the program… Sometime in October, this individual in-front of my immediate supervisor, all of his fellow department colleagues as well as the head director of our company, proceeded to say, with his feet on his desk and a Google Search screen up for type of doll or something, “Let Matt do it, I have tested it the first time and it didn’t work so obviously he has no idea what he is doing and he has tons of time to do user testing. Also I need him to do some data entry because that is above my pay-grade.” Oh boy, in front of everyone I let this shit-lazy worker know where I stood and where he stood (beneath me) and told him two things. “First of all, I am a developer, and unlike common users I think logically not emotionally, therefore I cannot perform user tests to test out the stupid things that you common users do to software applications, and all software applications go through testing stages, A bug in the software is not a warrant for judging someones capabilities, however, feet on a desk while surfing the internet while work is needed to be done and at the same time complaining about not being paid enough is a warrant to judge the dedication and mental capacity of an office worker. And second you lazy ass, maybe instead of complaining about being underpaid, show some initiative and do work duties that are not in your description and go above and beyond.” With mouths dropped and eyes bugging out by everyone in the office I turned and walked away saying “I have to get back to my office and continue with my job of making your lives easier.” What I am trying to say hear is, don’t let those less productive push you around and make an unintelligible attack on your character or your skills.

The second instance, and this one was even bigger than the first one, was one that had me walking a fine line on professionalism and personally attacking a higher up for their inaccuracies and mistakes in a project. A short history lesson of last year in regards to this project, my company took on a gigantic undertaking of hiring an outside company to completely redo our website, not to mention allowing an individual with a high ranking power to prepare and deliver the project contract. The entire year this project was underway, my fellow IT colleague and myself kept pushing our immediate supervisor for a “reclass,” basically a promotion, due to an overwhelmingly alteration and increase in our job duties but with his lack of commitment to getting things done at the office nothing came to light with that request, just stay with me, this last statement is an important factor in this instance and promotes the integrity of the first. Ok, back to the project. I was able to get my hands on the contract as well as the financials of how much the company was paying to complete this project. Two things, the first being the contract was missing many key aspects of a website contract not to mention a severe misstep that could have cost my company more than just the money, and second we were way over-paying for what was to be done and what was done. Fast-forward to the end of the year. The CFO approached me to discuss some issues people were having with my immediate supervisor and the conversation got around to the major project of the year. He asked my opinion about the overall aspect of it, and well laughing and head shaking aside, I let him know, professionally, what was done wrong and who did wrong. knowing all to well that he was the one that created the project contract and negotiated the overall cost. I let him know that with my previously contract work, I was involved and personally have created multiple project contracts, most of which could protect a single person against a large corporation like ours, with proof of concept of copies of previous contracts to back up my claims.  After a long talk with him about many other things, it was exposed that the throughout the company more importantly within the management there is a “list and ranking” of all the personnel in which they rank each employee based on how they spend their time during the day. This list is their way of seeing who is reliable, who works the most and who gabs and waste time the most, ranked best personnel to least favorable. Yours truly is #2 on the list, and the only reason I am not on top is because as I was told “You don’t have good PR skills with the other personnel.” And I was told that I need to work on that skill, for which I responded by telling the CFO that my desire is to only have good PR skills and meaningful conversations with those that can get the company ahead, meaning the management. Fast foward a little more, the CFO approached me and said that he spoke with the head director about everything I mentioned and said. With that feeling of overwhelming stress when you are stopped by a police officer, he informed me that the head director and himself are going to push forward with my reclass and basically skip over dealing with it through my direct supervisor. As well, they are going to be requiring me to be included in all software and website projects from now on with my words being put at the forefront. In this I am trying to show you that it is not what you say but how and to whom you say it to, and to show and open the eyes of your higher powered colleagues that you are a force to be dealt with and someone that they want with them in the long run. Show them that you have the skills and knowledge to make yourself indispensable and you will go through the roof, and leave all of those “It’s above my pay-grade.” co-workers in the dust.

I am sure there are going to be stresses throughout the new year, but as long as we all stay strong with our heads held up high and our convictions staying true, we all will persevere.

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It’s not a square trying to fit into a circle.

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Company urinal not serving its purpose

PhD Mathematicians and Scientists, their minds are brilliant. With theory, probability and complexing enigmatic solutions to conundrums of the ages, they work diligently to solve mankind’s greatest questions. With the grey matter that they hold so dear and have evolved to a much deeper grey they are able to find solutions and answers for life’s most demanding questions.

SO! How damn hard is it to find a solution for the emptying of ones bladder into the urinal it is intended?

Here is one of those enigmatic conundrums that are still unsolved. Coming into work at 6:00 am everyday, it is peaceful, quiet and serene even. The halls have an eerie dark peacefulness lurking in the air, rooms still without light rest peacefully till the morning sun rise and the bathrooms sparkle fragrently ready to serve all of its patrons. As usual, the honor goes to the early worker who enjoys the cleanliness and serenity of the comfortable bathroom. Visitors begin to arrive before the rest of the building personnel does and they too get the gratification of using a still uncontaminated bathroom. One last trip before the rest of the colleagues arrive, the serenity, the sparkle the sweet aroma of Pine Sol has dissipated and been replaced with the aromas of laziness and thoughtless acts. The serenity has been replaced with a sense of stress and uneasiness. The sweet aromas of cleaning solutions have been replaced with a smell of testosterone laden dogs marking their territories. The clean sparkle, replaced with puddles of sparkling yellow liquid on the blue tiles reaching up to invite the iron stomached guests.

Between the time after the first patron visited and the second return, individuals, who should have the mental capacity to fit a needle in a hula hoop, have found a way to desecrate a hard nights work by those that scrub and toil away on the grime of society.

Scientists, your minds are able to solve the theory and wonders of the world, therefore solve the mysterious hypothesis that is about to be presented to you:

Hypothesis: A stream of water, with a maximum diameter of 1/8 of an inch, being forced out of a cylinder at the rate of 25 miles an hour should be capable of hitting its target with a maximum diameter of 1 1/2 feet wide by 1 1/2 feet high, one hundred percent of the time.

Mathematicians, your minds see numbers, formulas and complexities abound, solving the means of accomplishment by numbers you should be able to answer this probability:

What is the probability of a small stream of water, being projected at a 40 degree arching angle at high velocity, hitting a circular target 2 inches wide with a 1 foot margin of error in diameter?

If either of your brilliant minds can solve the questions presented to you, please next time, put it into practice and hit your targets.

Interview with a mute – Laugh of the Day

Cairds Interview Lazarus

Imagine arriving at your potential new employer, rehearsed and thinking positive. You sit down in front of a panel of three; An older gentleman in a 3 piece suit, binder and note taking utilities in hand, a younger gentleman dressed very casual looking like he was dragged in just for the hell of it with a goofy grin on his face and a shaved bald gentleman, intimidating and rugged looking like a bouncer asked to sit in to keep the peace. Your palms sweat and your lungs fluctuate intensely filling with air and collapsing on each breath. You take one last deep breath when the older gentleman opens his mouth and says “Let’s begin.”

Your resume is reviewed and obviously already answered questions are asked that you easily spew the answers from your mind out through your mouth. An introduction about what the company is and who we are is dribbled out to you slowly and painfully boring, yet you listen eagerly waiting for the juicy meat and potatoes of the interview to kick in. Finally, a question that you have to put some serious thought and intellect into answering. After the sentences have formed and you are glowing with confidence, the words come out. While your answers are impressing the panel, the older gentleman across from you interrupts and begins to reminisce about the olden days, continuing on for what seems like a short novel. Each question that is asked and for each answer that you have prepared, you begin to notice that the interview is beginning to focus not on you but instead hones in on the elder gentleman’s past experiences.

The beads of sweat on your forehead have evaporated and have turned into salty white trails and the clams that once laid nervously in your palms have shut tight and buried themselves deep away under your skin. As the lone story-teller in the interview asks you if there are any questions and as you ask your logical question the story continues with an enigmatic answer to your question. Wait what was that? A joke or actually a crass realization of intelligence of progress slithers from the intimidating bald gent and as laughter fills the room your body releases its tight grip of stress and you slouch in relief, as you now realize that even though your answers were muted and hidden behind a repetitive story, they were still heard by the other audiences in the room. As you all rise to commemorate the end of this long journey down memory lane, you are relaxed and confidently stroll out of the building thinking to yourself… “During an interview sometimes it is not what you say that gets you the job, it is the muting of your ideologies and own experiences conversely the opening of your mind to what story is being relayed that does the trick.”

Good luck Mr. Irons, you did very well and it was a pleasure intimidating you today.

UC system are crooks – Stresser of the Day

Mark Yudof, president of the University of Cal...

Insensitive Ruler

So I just got word today that the UC system is changing all non-exempt employees to bi-weekly pay periods. This means a few things. First of it puts me right back into the deep stress that I worked hard to get out of. Second it means that measly pathetic 3% increase means absolutely shit and Third it means I will have at least $400 less per month to live off of. Not that UC President Mark G. Yudof gives a rat ass, he is making his millions along with the 6 useless deans and lawyers that just got an average of %15 raises; all in the name of keeping the “high quality staff” on board.

Hey Mr. Yudof, how about the true high quality staff that actually makes the UC system work on the day-to-day basis. If the UC system is receiving and going to receive less monetary backing from the state why on earth are you giving high staff positions (which are not necessary) massive raises? the UC system cannot afford it. Now we know why this state is so fucked up and going down the toilet. That is because we have incompetent and insensitive people in power and running things who have no idea what they are doing. In my field we are getting paid at minimum $30,000 less than the median salary in the Los Angeles county in the IT field. President Yudof, do you really think a 3% raise is going to keep your staff from leaving? If you think that is true, then you are as blind and foolish as the snobby UC Regents are.

On top of all that the UC system now wants to ban smoking on all of its campuses, real smart, you will have under paid, over stressed employees with no way to release that stress on a daily basis; for those that smoke. I sense alot of jumping ship happening soon, lucky this is the US Postal service, we all know how crazy those individuals are.

Funny thing is though, technically the location I work within the UC system, we do not even get paid by the state of California, we get paid by the federal government. When asking for a raise or re-class from the over-paid, severely under worked superiors, it’s always the same, oh we can’t afford it. BULLSHIT you can’t afford it. You don’t need those 6 figure salaries, why do you think you deserve those types of salaries. Just because you have a PhD, big deal, it’s a piece of paper. You do not know how to run a business, let alone care about your employees.

So I am giving my employer a choice, either give me a raise, re-classify my position or I am quitting. I wont be able to afford to go into work everyday, with a minimum of $400 less per month out of my living expenses. They say they want to keep high-quality staff on board, well they are going to lose one if they don’t do something soon. And yes I consider myself a high-quality staff member, because no one in my department knows how to do what I do.

Incompetent hiring causes lost revenue – Irony of the Day

Brandywine Hundred Fire Company, Delaware - Fa...

Image by Timothy Wildey via Flickr

Once again, the company has proven that employing competent and qualified individuals is not their forte. As those in charge of this company, sit in their offices conducting unproductive banter, there I sat in my office chair, staring in  bewildered astonishment, reaching for invisible hair on my head that was once there. They laugh and ponder their next accomplishment to steal more money from the government, as my mind stirs at the notion that a rudimentary mistake by the individual that I replaced, may have caused the company to lose tens of thousands of dollars over the course of 10 years.

Astonishing at that may sound, the higher-ups actually believe that this rookie developer (Craig is his name) had the skills and management ability to set up and run their databases and business solutions. In actuality, this lame duck of an individual, couldn’t program his VCR if he had the opportunity. They speak of him as someone who helped the company and are still proud that he did what he did. As chance has it, they would not be too proud if they realized that a simple and should logically be realized skill could have the potential of past loses of the tens of thousands of revenue. This is one of the reason I chuckle every time I hear one of these moronic boobs Continue reading